Jo Currant Tribute 1942-2010

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Tribute to Jo Curran 1942 — 2010

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Tribute to the former secretary of IATM Americas.

Transcript of Jo Currant Tribute 1942-2010

Page 1: Jo Currant Tribute 1942-2010

Tribute to Jo Curran

1942 — 2010

Page 2: Jo Currant Tribute 1942-2010

How one woman can leave behind a legacy that

will never be lost is the legacy of Jo Curran. She

had inspired so many in her travels in this world.

The memories of our times together have helped

shape my personality and who I am in my chosen

field as a tour manager. When I close my eyes to

visualize her face when she was here, those

memories are locked inside my heart and those

memories will go on and on. � Go, traveler about

your journey for this earth-bound chapter is but the

preamble. Rest, O weary traveler, for with the dawn

comes great joy.

Respectfully memorized,

Gary Culp CTM

P A G E 2

I still cannot believe that Jo is not with us any-

more!!! I never even got to meet her in person

but between speaking with her on the phone and

emailing I really felt like I knew her!

It makes me so sad thinking about it! She truly

was IATM to me! She was so dedicated and

always so very very helpful, always responding

to you right away and sending out the blurbs on

job opportunities, Christmas cards........a very

special lady and one that will be missed even

from people like me who never got to meet her

officially in person!

I know one day that I will see her again and I will

be at the first of the line to be a part of her tour!

My thoughts and prayers go out to her friends

and family!

Denise Schafer

There are very few times you can have a telephone conver-

sation with a person and feel like you have a friend. Jo

was just that kind of person she was caring and you could

tell she really enjoyed her life. She is gone but will not be


Sara Raney ITMI,

IATM 2010 Member

I've probably known Jo for longer than any of her friends in the US. We met sometime in the late 7o's or early 80's when Jo lived in Innsbruck...and was my almost-neighbors. I don't remember the exact date..and it's not important...I just remember we used to visit each other...I lived in a farmhouse at the time, and Jo and I used to have discussions, about everything under the sun...she remembered even last year some of our philosophi-cal talks,that I had long since forgotten!! Typical Jo...fantastic memory!!

When she left for the States..we lost touch completely...and only re-met (which was a wonderful surprise) at the IATM meeting in 1994 in South Africa. Since then,we were in constant touch...and met up often at the IATM meetings...both International and a few years ago in Italy,where she combined a visit to her daughter in Pergine,near Trento,with participating in our CER meeting in Bolzano. Jo was always cheerful...always positive...always kind and thoughtful...and even after her accident and cancer problems she lived life to the full. She was grateful for what she had.The way she died was the right way for her...and her belief in reincar-nation helped her to choose that path.

She knew exactly what she was doing...she always did!! I remember jiving with her to 'golden oldie'music in Costa Rica...I remember her courage at not giving up after her accident...I remember the last time we Italy...I will remember her always...she will never be forgotten!!

Gina Braim, Innsbruck,Austria. CER Region

Page 3: Jo Currant Tribute 1942-2010

P A G E 3 T R I B U T E T O J O C U R R A N 1 9 4 2 — 2 0 1 0

Soon after joining IATM, I attended my first convention in Las Vegas.

Not knowing anyone, I stood around looking at all these strangers busily talking to each other and taking no notice

of a shy newcomer.

I was finally rescued by the friendliest person in the room, who came to introduce herself and welcome me.

From that moment, Jo became a dear and close friend, and my whole outlook on tour guiding changed thanks to

her help and friendship, always given unstintingly and often without asking.

She became my mentor, my teacher, my friend and my inspiration as a Tour Manager.

Although we lived on opposite sides of the continent, I knew she was never further away than a telephone call if I

needed help or if I just wanted to chat, and her cheerful “Jo here” never failed to raise my mood and my spirits.

The North American Study Tour of the Four Corners that Jo organized and conducted for IATM was one which I

will never forget. Her knowledge and understanding of the areas we visited, and her close affinity with the native

cultures, especially the Navajo, was astounding, and will remain some of my most cherished memories of her.

I was privileged to spend some time alone with her before the tour started, and learn something of her past

life. Her adventurous spirit and courage and willingness to change her life when she needed to, inspired me to try

and pass on to others the lessons she taught me. Pity, sadness and despair were not in her vocabulary, and I

never heard anything in her voice other than optimism and a joy that showed how much she loved life, no matter

whether she was on a high or a low.

I don’t know anyone who could have borne with such fortitude the pain and long –drawn out suffering she endured

after the terrible accident that damaged her leg. She accepted each new treatment with the optimistic certainty

that it would help, and her positive outlook kept her going until her treatment was completed and she was able to

resume her always independent way of life, never talking about the changes and limitations she had to live with

unless you asked her.

She showed the same courage when her first cancer was diagnosed, saying that she would undergo the conven-

tional treatments because she was sure they would be successful. Once again her positive optimism won the

day, and she was able to resume her busy life, always finding time for all the many duties she voluntarily under-

took to further the professionalism of her chosen life’s work.

When I spoke to her after learning that once again she was ill, she told me she hoped for a positive outcome

again, but this time would rely on natural healing remedies in which she had great faith. If this did not work, she

was ready to accept the outcome. Her voice was strong and matter-of-fact, full of hopeful optimism as before,

without a hint of despair or pity.

I spoke to her once more, before leaving for the Study Tour of Northern France, fully expecting to hear her voice

when I called her on my return. It was not to be.

Jo had a quality of spirituality about her which she was willing to share with me, and for which I will always be

grateful. She was a shining example of a truly special person who passed on life lessons to all those who were in

tune with her, and she will always be a special part of my life. I have lost one of my truest and best friends.

I send my condolences to her family and thank them for giving us the gift of a unique and wonderful person whom

it was a true privilege to know.

Heather Nochomovitz

Page 4: Jo Currant Tribute 1942-2010

P A G E 4

“She was a shin-

ing example of a

truly special per-

son who passed

on life lessons to

all those who

were in tune with


Personally, I enjoyed reading

the IATM news briefings, with

all the information relating to

travel, plus a host of various

articles covering items of inter-

est to our profession, that the

late Jo Curran periodically sent

us. Of course, I am heartbroken

to have learnt of Jo's medical

condition and her sudden de-

parture. She was a fine person,

dedicated to pass on vital infor-

mation connected to our line of

work - plus much much more

articles to enrich our

lives. Jo Curran


Jack Epstein IATM

T R I B U T E T O J O C U R R A N 1 9 4 2 - 2 0 1 0

I was so shocked to hear about Jo's passing, it was too soon after she wrote that "she

was joining the big "C" club again" letter. I was hoping what I hope for myself and all

cancer survivors, that she would have another remission and a few more years.

She knew that she had very little time and made her peace. She was a remarkable

human being. I don't know if I could do it as gracefully as she did. But Jo did every-

thing extremely well.

I met her several years ago when I was in Seattle on one of the Alaska tours I direct.

We connected right away. She was so open with her help and ideas on many occa-

sions when I called or wrote to discuss some trip I was preparing for.

A few years later I had almost a whole day with her before my late evening flight back

to Boston. We went to Tacoma and had a wonderful visit to the Glass Museum.

I wish I had a photo to send you, looked thru my pictures from the Vietnam meeting,

but I have none of her.

I will miss her

Yvette Kaplan

I have no words to express my sorrow.

Kind regards,

Silvia Alves

Jo was kind, patient and extremely gener-

ous. She was always ready to help in any way


Each of us has so many inner struggles that

are not so apparent to those around us. Each

of us has within us vast knowledge, experi-

ence, and stories that are sometimes lost for-

ever with the final chapter of our lives. But

sometimes that experience and knowledge and

those stories live on. Maybe that is why we

give so much in the profession which

we share. Jo shared much that will

live on with hundreds of people.

Paula Walvoord

Page 5: Jo Currant Tribute 1942-2010

After many years of correspondence via email and phone, I

finally met Jo Curran last May in Denver. She had just

completed a tour and treated three or four of us to dinner at

the hotel where she was staying. What an inspirational

spirit! She truly did dedicate her life to travel and sharing

that love of travel and knowledge with others. I knew she

was gravely ill, but did not know she had passed

away. Wanted to share these thoughts about her. Was

amazed at her dedication to IATM with getting all the new

membership cards out while she was so very ill. Will al-

ways remember her and my thoughts are with her family.


Roxanne Snell

P A G E 5 T R I B U T E T O J O C U R R A N 1 9 4 2 — 2 0 1 0

“Jo was a giver

and I will

always be

indebted to her

for her

knowledge and

support “

"Knowing Jo for fifteen plus years allowed us

to share not only Travel and Tourism Industry

information, IATM projects but some per-

sonal information between us about our tours,

trips, family, etc. I always welcomed opening

Jo's emails to me for the interest they gener-

ated. Over the years, Jo strongly supported

my business and I appreciate that very

much. Her support as well as her comments

will be missed and I wish her the best on the

journey she is now undertaking."

Frank Slater, Ph.D, CEO,

International Guide Academy, Inc.

Try as I can I do not remember how I met Jo or where--seems like I've known her forever. How-

ever, she really came into focus when she did a tour of the Southwest. We, my husband Bob

was on the trip, and so were you Scott--lst time I had met you--it was a wonderful trip, that Jo

had composed. I had done the Southwest a number of times so I had some knowledge but cer-

tainly not in the depth that Jo had arranged. Well worth the time and trouble for both Jo and the

group--it was the only time that I traveled with her and my respect for her abilities certainly went

way up.

We kept in touch but mostly about what was going on with the IATM group and persons we

knew mutually and the stories of her planned travels to add to her knowledge--until her accident

in Africa and then her return to Seattle--I sent her books--she did love a good mystery and we

had found and both started to read Nevada Barr on that SW trip--I sent some on to her when

she was going for her treatments--they helped pass the time she said.

So like Jo she mentioned one day as we talked on the phone, that she was "getting

younger" and when she explained what she meant I told her to talk to her Dr. (I'm sure I wasn't

the only person who refered her to medical.) That was about the time of the discovery of her

Cancer. She had a lot on her plate with the leg/foot and this added up but she never was a

whiner--asked, she just gave you the facts and that was that. I arranged for her to go with me to

Healing Journeys--a free program for persons with life threatening health problems that is for

the spirit not the physical, put on for the 1st time in Seattle--I had been a supporter for years and

flew up from California to be there. (I have family in the area so it was a three fold trip to stay

with them, see Jo and take her to the program and out to eat and do some grocery shopping for

her.) It was a good trip as I npw knew what her needs were, her true frame of mind and that

she had a wonderful support group in the area which was soo reassuring. It is important that

one has friends to come home to when you do a lot of traveling or you can become iso-

lated. We talked on the phone every once in a while (no set schedule) and even nearing the

end of the year and her time on the planet her health was a footnote compared to her sense of

wonder, love of travel, and ability to communicate both. I am sure as she said, it was her lst

time to go out without a map and an ittenary--and I'm equally sure she is gathering knowledge

and offering it to whomever is in her vicinity. God Bless!!

Shirley Sturdivant

Page 6: Jo Currant Tribute 1942-2010

P A G E 6

“ whole

outlook on tour

guiding changed

thanks to her

help and


always given

unstintingly and

often without


“She had


so many

in her trav-

els in this


T R I B U T E T O J O C U R R A N 1 9 4 2 - 2 0 1 0

My fond memories of Jo is a lady with a kind and loving

heart. She was always supportive and a dedicated pro-

fessional....I can still hear her saying, "there is no such

thing as a stupid question". You will truly be missed,

may your soul rest in peace.

God Bless.

Elaine Phillips

I had always wanted to

meet Jo unfortunately it

shan't be so.

Both Heather Nochomovitz

and Yvette Kaplan spoke

highly of her. I particularly

enjoyed the wonderful

travelog she wrote up in the

IATM News about her

trip through Turkey with her


Did she write other articles

for IATM ? Perhaps a spe-

cial supplement of her arti-

cles could be included in a


Marilyn Perlman

She was a lady with an irreverent sense of humor, with only kind

words about everyone. A person was not bad, but a chal-

lenge. Sometimes we lose sight of that after days of frustration

from one individual on a trip. She was always prepared with ad-

vice, but pulled no punches. She was dedicated and professional

to the end. She had two trips booked for JDR Reisen this year, a

company in Wuerzburg. She spent a lot of time trying to find the

right tour managers to take over these trips, and was one of the

last things she did. I, with lots of Alaska experience, got the

Alaska trip, and when she found someone for the trip to the

Southwest; that is when she finally told the company of her health

situation. A company she had worked with for 20 years. That

was about a week before she died. Jo was also instrumental in

passing the Death with Dignity Act in Washington State. She

started that project the last time she had cancer, about 7 years

earlier. About two weeks before her departure, she was working

on trying to get the law changed so doctors COULD actually tell

you about it, without having to be asked. Unfortunately, she was-

n't able to get that far, but was able to make the right decision for

herself when the time came. She had made peace with her situa-

tion the first time around and used her energy to help others. She

was always only a phone call away when I needed advice. . . or a

laugh. I'm going to miss her. I only hope that, faced with the

same situation, I would handle it as well, and as gracefully, as Jo.


Rhonda Hansmann

Thank you also for honoring Jo

Curran - she was a wonderful

person and I was fortunate

enough to have dinner w/her and

two other friends in June(?)

when she was in Denver at the

end of a tour. She was one of

the most enthusiastic, supportive

and interesting people I have

ever met. She encouraged all of

us to step off and take the trip,

see the world, experience the

unusual and enjoy and share it

all. I met her about ten years

ago and kept in contact w/her

over the years. What a great


Nancy Brueggeman

She was I am sure well prepared for

this other journey.

JF Barnes

We've all lost a wonderful friend and mentor. Jo Curran

was a 'positive' influence regarding everything and eve-

ryone. She always had time to help all of us even when

she was going through very trying times. Her huge

heart lives on. We shall miss her very much; we know

she is off 'somewhere' enjoying another

great adventure.

Mona A. Robertson, CTM

Page 7: Jo Currant Tribute 1942-2010

P A G E 7 T R I B U T E T O J O C U R R A N 1 9 4 2 — 2 0 1 0

I have had the good fortune to know Jo since she started working in the USA. I was at that

time President of PGAA and met Jo casually during a cocktail party. Immediately I was

impressed with her sense of openness as we engaged in a discussion relating to the role

of a Tour Manager. As I was then already a member of IATM since 1972, I convinced Jo

to take an active role and although she did not get immediately involved, I knew that Jo

was slated for great things. As soon as she became US Region Chairwoman she opened

up IATM for our Canadian colleagues, many of whom joined IATM because of Jo's relent-

less efforts. Jo had also the determination to restore the NA Region to full status within

IATM and it is also due to the innovative participation in the liability insurance that we

have grown tremendously in the past 2 years. Jo, you will be remembered by me and

many others for your addictive positive attitude especially the last 8 years. May the last

tour you took be the one that will take you to Tour Manager's heaven, where all the drivers

are willing to do the extra mile, where the busses are always spotless clean, where our

employers give you salary increases every year and where your customers actually tip

you correctly.

Frederick M Verkempinck

Unfortunately I have never personally met her but talked to her on

the phone when I first inquired to join IATM in 2007. She was ex-

tremely welcoming and encouraging and very efficient in pushing

the membership through so that I could join the first educational

trip with IATM to Portugal.

Since then I was always amazed to observe her energy in running

the Ameria Region as a one person entity. Whether it was fi-

nances, questions regarding certification, spreading news about

job offers or accomodating ways of sending my dues from Can-

ada, she was always so upbeat and dedicated. Even practically on

her deathbed she enlightened me on the scope of her duties. Even

if one took away the editing and the finances she was still doing so

many different jobs that trying to step into her job-shoes seemed

overwhelming to me. I realized that in our Tourist Guide Associa-

tion in Toronto it takes 5 board members to do what she did all by

herself! On top of it she did it without complaining about the loads

she was carrying. Even now that I am free from the board in To-

ronto and thinking of trying to take some of the load she was do-

ing, I feel so inadequate and yet ashamed that I did not offer any

help when she shyly asked for it 2 years ago. I can only hope that

our growing IATM Region will reorganize the administration of run-

ning us all in a way that even mere mortals can do their part and

still make progress for us all.

We will never match your efforts, Jo, and it does seem so unfair

that only your sudden and unexpected death will finally force the

rest of us to wake up and step in and carry on. Scott cannot do it

alone, I am willing to help but could not possibly do all Jo did.

We shall miss Jo terribly. We all owe her so much for too long. We

owe it to her to make good use of her legacy to us.

Brigitta Gamm

First of all, I'm deeply saddened by Jo's

passing because I allowed time to pass

without calling to talk to her as was my


Jo recommended me for my first tour job.

It wasn't because she knew me well, but

because I was a member of IATM (good

credentials) and we had talked on the

phone a few times. One reason why this

was beneficial for me, was that my job

had ended two weeks prior. It's the nature

of the economy now.

If there was something of interest to me

and I wanted more information, I would

email her and she would respond right

away. At different times, she'd recom-

mend I call her and we'd talk on the

phone. So I considered her as a kind of

mentor. She was encouraging to me and

extremely helpful.

The last thing she did was pay up my li-

ability insurance out of her pocket as long

as I had a check in the mail so that it

wouldn't be late. There are not many will-

ing people who don't mind giving of them-

selves. But Jo was a giver and I will al-

ways be indebted to her for her knowl-

edge and support.


Sydney Avery

Page 8: Jo Currant Tribute 1942-2010

24 Blevins Road

Kerhonkson, NY 12446


Phone/Fax: 212-208-6800

E-mail: [email protected]

In loving memory of

Jo Curran 1942 – 2010

She lived the legacy of how

a professional Tour

Manager should be.



I first met Jo Curran after I signed up for her IATM South West Indian Lands Study Tour. We had already talked

many times over the phone since she was the chairman of IATM-NA and I was the Vice-Chairman. Though my

real adventure with her started when we traveled together…

I remember that she looked smaller and older than I pictured her. That was part of her beauty. She had a spunky

energy about her that many people leave behind in their youth. It was contagious and inspirational. I will never

forget her energy.

I have always thought that the best way to get to know somebody is to travel with them. We traveled together in a

small group for over a week and got to know each ther very well. I was impressed with her depth of knowledge. It

was not only long and wide, but deep – if you know what I mean. She introduced us to people from all walks of

life. People that only a well travelled person can come into contact and bond with. They were her friends and she

made them our friends.

I gained the knowledge that only a lifetime of travel in an area can provide. Each of us on the tour was a Tour

Manager and now able to lead a superior tour in America’s South West. Jo’s heart was so pure that the thought

that she was educating colleagues who might someday compete for a job with her probably never entered her

mind. I have now worked out there many times and even offer my own tours, so it is the smallest of praise to say

that she helped me. She gave me an energy that is now part of me and I shall pass down to my children.

Scott MacScott CTM

Chairman IATM